Brantham boss confident Mann will stay

BRANTHAM Athletic boss Tony Hall is confident Ollie Mann will still be with the Ridgeons League side at the start of next season after rejecting offers of “more than �10,000” for the striker from non-league clubs.

Mann, who scored 41 goals in his first season in the Premier Division last season, attracted the interest of a string of professional clubs towards the end of the season.

Ipswich Town have scouted the 21-year-old hot-shot, who lives in Lawford, along with the likes of Dagenham & Redbridge, Leyton Orient and Southend United.

After he was watched by Dagenham & Redbridge manager John Still, Mann played - and scored - in a friendly game for Dagenham & Redbridge Reserves against the Spain-based Glenn Hoddle’s Academy.

But Hall, a former Ipswich Town Youth team player, revealed: “We are still getting enquiries from Football League clubs, but none of them have come in yet and put an offer on the table.

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“A club rang the other day – I won’t say who – and said they wanted to have a look at him at the beginning of next season, but that’s as far as it goes.

“We are very proud that professional clubs have shown an interest in Ollie, who wouldn’t be?”

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Hall, who described Mann as the best striker in the Ridgeons League, denied that Brantham had ever placed a �20,000 price tag on the player’s head, but confirmed that they had received offers from non-league clubs of “more than �10,000” for him.

However, he said the club would not consider selling Mann, who has a year to run on his contract at Brantham, to another non-league club and that he was with the “right club at the right time” to continue his development.

“I am over the moon that Ollie is still a Brantham player. We have no intention of selling him as we want him in our team next season and he wants to stay at Brantham.

“He is an apprentice joiner and when he finishes in the summer he will have a full-time job in front of him.

“It takes any player stepping up from non-league to the professional game at least six months to get used to the standard, and if he was to be offered only a year’s contract that represents a huge gamble and is something he will have to consider carefully.”

But while Brantham remain determined not to sell the player to another non-league side, Mann is naturally keen to play at a higher level.

Mann, who has been voted the Evening Star Kick-off column Player of the Season for the second year in a row, said: “The situation is that unless a good offer comes along I will be staying at Brantham for one more year, but I would like to make the step up as soon as possible.

“If the right opportunity is not there I will have to wait another year, but if I was offered a one-year deal at a professional club I would definitely take a chance.”

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